Regional report – round 1 junior competition

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Last weekend some of our regional affiliates were back on the pitch for their first hit out of the 2020 season.

With metropolitan Melbourne & Mitchell Shire in lockdown, there’s no better time to get behind our regional affiliates and live vicariously through their junior competitions! #KeepHockeyAlive

See below for the affiliates’ weekly competition report. With more affiliates and associations starting this coming weekend, stay tuned for more action.

If you have any photos or match reports from our regional affiliates please tag Hockey Victoria on social media or send them through to

West Gippsland Hockey Association

(Prepared by Andrew Mock for the Drouin Warragul Gazette)

There was plenty of smiling faces and excited chatter at Bellbird Park in Drouin on Saturday morning with junior hockey finally getting underway for season 2020 after a three-month delay.

With many players living on the wrong side of the Bunyip River numbers were expected to be down and as a result there were two forfeits in the under 12s. This didn’t stop those players from organising two highly competitive scratch matches to blow off some of the hockey cobwebs that have been building since the previous season.

In the under 15s first up, it was the Aztecs and the Warriors. There is a lot of talent in both sides and they put on a show. In the end it was the Aztecs that were too strong as they ran out 4 – 0 winners. Goal Scoring was spread evenly between Hayden McNeill, Mikayla Gourley, Lauren Austin and Jordan Oellermann. Bianca Zurrer and Zizi Pozzebon put in a huge effort for the Warriors.

In the other match the Gulls were up against the Drouids. The first half was very competitive but in the second half the Gulls found another gear and ran out convincing winners 8-0. Sisters Ariya and Marisah Mock as well as Merri Spalding scored 2 goals each. While Josiah Wells and Ruth Tucker helped out with one. Dean Lyle and Nicole Schellekens played well all game for the Aztecs.

The games in the under 18s were much more competitive. Although the final score was 5-1 in Warriors favour it doesn’t truly represent the full story. The intensity was extremely high with a few warnings from the umpires resulting in two green cards against Warrior players Bianca Zurrer and Bailey Studd. Player and co-coach for Warriors, Seth Calway played his socks off and ended up with a hat-trick of goals while Baily Studd and Tessa Martin chipped in with one goal each. Elliot Stephens for Aztecs put in a solid effort all game and scored their only goal.

To me the game of the round was the extremely hard-fought battle between Gulls and Drouids. It was played at a frantic pace and the winning goal was scored with only a few minutes left on the clock by Sam Graziotin which broke the 2-2 deadlock. Kaitlyn Spragg and Alice Greenall also scored. For the Drouids their two goal scorers were Will Stephens and Henry Grant. Henry Grant had a great all-round game as did sisters Ruth and Katie Tucker from the Gulls.

Hockey Ballarat

Hockey Ballarat is an association located in the Central Highlands region of Victoria. The association is based out of Prince of Wales (Ballarat Hockey Centre), which is a one-pitch facility near Lake Wendouree. They do utilise one of the local private high schools, Ballarat Grammar as an overflow facility for junior matches. Within the association there is five clubs that play within the local competitions;

  • Eureka & Golden City (EGC)
    • Junior and senior club
  • Ballarat Blaze
    • Junior and senior club
  • BobCats
    • Junior and seniors club
  • Girls Day Out
    • Senior women’s club/team
  • Students of Ballarat
    • Senior women and men’s club

The junior competition officially launched on Saturday 18 June with 250 enthusiastic children taking the field across the day to play in one of the following three age groups, mixed under 11s, under 14s and under 16s. The results of the day were;

U/11 U/16 U/14
EGC Blue 5 def EGC Gold 1 Blaze 2 def EGC Gold 0 EGC Gold 3 def Bobcats 1
EGC Green 2 def Bobcats Maroon 1 Bobcats 2 def EGC Blue 0 Blaze 1 def EGC Colts 0
Bobcats White 4 def Blaze 2

The association traditionally organises a canteen roster for each season to allow all clubs the opportunity to generate some additional revenue through their own canteen stock.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the association has made the executive decision to close the canteen for the season of 2020 and have organised coffee and food trucks to be set up at the ground each week to provide hospitality options for members and spectators.

Fun fact of Ballarat: Ballarat is the third largest city in both Victoria and inland Australia with a population of over 105,000.

Warrnambool & District Hockey Association

(GAME ON: “The Technician” Tyler Brown focuses on his next move during an Under 16 match in Warrnambool on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Anthony Brady)

“We’re back!” A spectator known only as “Mr Jordan” told us these were the only words we needed to describe the return of the Warrnambool & District Hockey Association Competition over the weekend. And he wasn’t wrong, after witnessing some spectacular, and at times, “festival hockey” on display.

The Warrnambool & District Hockey Association features three junior grades. The Under 12s, who play on a Wednesday afternoon, The Under 14s that play on a Friday night, and The Under 16s that play on a Saturday.

One spectator went a step further to say the Under 14 and Under 16 season-openers were “absolutely brilliant”, which was great to see after such a long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She went on to say that the association, which had to scrap its 2020 senior season due to state government restrictions, said it had protocols in place to adhere to guidelines.

“The number of parents that came to watch was pleasing, but to see them all doing the right thing in regards to social distancing was just fantastic, it makes everyone’s job a lot easier on the day so we can just enjoy the quality hockey on display.”

“We thought we might get some resistance adhering to the rules we had in place, but at the same time because it’s starting to become the norm throughout Victoria as this COVID-19 pandemic hangs around, people are starting to just accept that they need to adhere to the rules or we risk having to revert back to heavier restrictions, meaning hockey could again be put on hold, so it was pleasing to see so much respect from the public.”

Geelong Hockey Association

Round 1 of the 2020 Geelong Hockey Association junior competitions was successfully completed on July 18 and 19. Age groups from U8s all the way to U17s competed in their first run of the season.

‘At last’ was the feeling expressed by players and parents, and the games themselves were enjoyed by all involved.